Open Arms

By on 30 June, 2016 in Art, Sarah Thornton with 1 Comment

Editor’s Note: On June 12, 2106, the 70th Annual Tony Awards were held in New York City to recognize achievement in theater and Broadway productions. Regular Midtown Montgomery Living contributor Sarah Thornton, artistic director at the Cloverdale Playhouse, submitted the following reflection on the awards and what they mean for our Midtown Montgomery community.

“We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger; We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside…” – Lin-Manuel Miranda at the 2016 Tony Awards


This year’s Tony Awards were incredible. Yes, the evening was filled with stars, gowns, razzle-dazzle, and amazing performances. The theater community never disappoints on that score. But what made this year so special, so far beyond any previous year, was that the spectacle and the glitz were dulled in comparison to the spirit and message behind what theater truly represents: inclusion, community, generosity of spirit, hard work, big dreams, and the idea that anyone is welcome. Theater has a diversity that is not only present, but boldly celebrated. Cloverdale Playhouse front photo

In the wake of the horror in Orlando, the Tony Awards spoke from the heart, showing kinship to all those souls in the world who were lost in every sense of the word. Not only did the community reflect love and support for the victims and their families, but for all those who feel different or persecuted or are on the verge of giving up, those with depleted spirits, those who feel out of place, and those who worry their dreams will never come true.

Theater has always been a spiritual place for me and many others, a safe place. Theater is an environment where what makes us different is explored and cherished, while we also embrace the universal elements of what ties all human beings together. We share our hearts and souls, we walk in someone else’s shoes, and we connect to each other in a deeper way.

At the Cloverdale Playhouse, the meaning of the word “community” is truly realized. We are made of many moving parts, none of which work without the others. We work as a team to accomplish one common goal, and everyone plays a vital part. Nothing is possible without the hard work and dedication of each individual for the good of the whole, and we need more help to keep the torch burning. The world needs more art, more community, more understanding, more love. So come make art with us! Try something new, lend a hand, give back to your community, make new friends, and help “add your light to the sum of light”. We welcome you!

Sarah Walker Thornton is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse, who walks like a New Yorker and waves like an Alabama girl. She is a product of a Montgomery arts education, with several years of life in NYC thrown in for extra flavor.

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  1. God bless you, Sarah Thornton. You are a blessing to the Cloverdale Playhouse community, the Montgomery AL community and the community that is our world in its entirety.

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